Critic: Chicago Police Video Shows “Collective Failure Of Journalism”


Chicago news media failed to go beyond the police account of the 2014 officer shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17. An officer has been charged with murder. Brian Stelter of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” notes that the first Chicago Tribune story on the case “relies entirely on the police point of view.” Now, a video of the incident disputes much of what was originally reported. Jim Warren of the Poynter Institute, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, cites “the collective failure of journalism to do the sort of tough on-the- ground digging to pierce the official narrative in matters like this.” Even after controversial deaths at the hand of officers, “We’re too inclined to simply regurgitate the police blotter. Yes, we have fewer resources than we used to, but there’s sort of a lack of intrepid reporting,” Warren says.

Brandon Smith, a freelance journalist in Chicago, tells CNN he filed a freedom of information request for the video “because the other outlets didn’t pursue it any further when they were denied.” Smith notes that the record in the case is incomplete. The police car that had the most clear shot of what happened … has no video publicly available, Smith says. He says, “We’re looking for the audio. And we’re also looking for police statements. My attorney and I in our suit, which is still ongoing, we’re looking for statements made by all the police officers on the scene.”

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